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Unit 4

4.5 Measuring Public Opinion

1 min readjune 16, 2020

Isabela Padilha Vilela


AP US Government 🏛️

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Definition of Public Opinion 

Public Opinion is defined through surveys which indicate the preferences of a certain population in regards to a specific issue. By measuring public opinion it is possible to know the amount of people (or percentage) in a population that holds certain opinions about the issue at hand, or even the ones that do not hold any opinions! 💬
These polls and surveys can measure support and the dissent of several different issues, such as the amount of support a candidate for the presidency has, or the opinions on a recently implemented public policy. They are important to maintain a democratic form of government. 

Important Characteristics 

  • Random Sample - It gives all individuals the equal amount of chance for being picked to participate in a poll. 
    • Random-digit dialing - Computer generates numbers to be selected at random. 
    • Exit polls - Interviews administered at the end of polls. 
  • Margin of Error 🚫- the range in which the results of the poll/survey can have accurate results. 
  • Phrasing of questions - The way that questions are formulated can influence the results of a survey. 
    • Open-ended - Questions that allow participants to respond with their own words.  
  • Universe - It is the target group of people whose opinions are measured.

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